Miyu Irino “Live Your Dream” (Review)

Live Your Dream is an ambitious mini-album that nods at past iterations of his music, however further improving on those. This is Miyu Irino‘s finest.

Regular edition
Title: Live Your dream
Label: Kiramune
Release date: 20/03/2019 
Genre: Ballad/Disco/Latin

Tracklist:

1.誰からも愛されるあなたのように 
2. Monet 
3. Lazy morning 
4. 例えば歌が日記だったなら
5. sayonara baby 
6. MASCLETA

Track by track analysis:

1.誰からも愛されるあなたのように 

This mini album opens with the sweet, almost lullabyish Darekara mo ai sareru anata no you ni. A delicate piano melody, muffled guitar riffs , tremolo strings and minimalistic beat complete this song that is directing focus to the vocal performance and the song’s inspirational lyrics.
Miyu Irino’s performance is the driving force for this beautiful song. His performance is full of emotion and he isn’t shy about showcasing his awe inducing falsetto or his sweet vibrato to make his delivery all the most impactful for the listener. Chills run down the spine when listening to this song. Terrific opening tune. 5/5

2. Monet 

Monet bring an acoustic blend of jazz and Latin music, quite similar to Bossa Nova. A slow paced Cajon beat, classy piano melodies, jazzy acoustic guitar riffs, playful brass melodies and a danceable bass line make this song incredibly addictive.

With this kind of loungy, slow paced, melodic instrumental, the focus is once again on Irino’s stunning vocals and what a smooth performance he gave in this song. Full marks. 5/5

3. Lazy morning 

Funky, groovy goodness is back with Lazy Morning. A groovy, slap bass line, funky guitar riffs, throwback, disco inspired, bass-synths, danceable piano melodies and a simple snary beat quickly take the listener to a disco, boogie fever imbued soundscape. This mid-tempo funk/disco tune has a smooth progression and transitions between the verses and chorus.

Just like the instrumental, Irino‘s performance is a laidback, full of life, adding the final touches to this addictive song. 5/5

4. 例えば歌が日記だったなら

This confessional song has a minimalistic sound driven by blues-y guitar riffs and the ethereal atmospheric synths that create a dreamy, late summer-inspired soundscape. Tatoeba uta ga nikki datta nara shines due to its simplicity and how well it materializes the feelings in the lyrics in this sweet sounding, slightly melancholic sound.

Irino’s performance is rather quiet and, as contained as it might sound, it packs a lot of emotion with it. Instead of going all out with his falsetto or vibrato he, instead, opted for a performance that sounds like it was meant for an acoustic song instead of this minimalistic, yet far from acoustic tune. In the end it worked out pretty well and, even if this song might sound quieter than previous tracks, it is still a great listen. 5/5

5. sayonara baby 

Now, sayonara baby is a full fledged ballad that feeds on the previous track’s slow, quieter sound. A longing piano melody is at the core of this song, later being joined by a slow paced bass line, acoustic guitar riffs and splashy drums. Vibes and an organ piano add some fancy bits to this melancholic song.

Irino does not go all out for this song but what he does is more than enough to give life to the song’s emotional lyrics. His sweet mid-toned vocals and perfect control make his performance flow smoothly and leave an impression. 5/5

6. MASCLETA

To wrap up this mini-album we have MASCLETA, a song that completely breaks the pacing of this release. MASCLETA ditches synths, dramatic piano melodies and introduces fast paced melodies, Latin inspired percussion – mainly timbales -, brass, playful guitar melodies and a deep bass line. This song channels a Samba or fast tempo Bossa Nova vibes, something that is present in Monet. However this song clearly digresses from Monet’s quieter, more loungy driven sound by adopting the fastest tempo possible and give this release an energy boost.

On the vocal end, you can tell that this is a song to have fun, and will work perfectly on a live setting, and Irino’s performance perfectly illustrates it. His uptempo, energetic performance manages to stand out even more than the high tension instrumental itself. A good boost of energy in this release, however a song that really doesn’t tie up this album well. 4.5/5

Final rating:

Live Your Dream is an ambitious mini-album that completely strays away from the commercial, electronica sound present in FREEDOM. It continues to show the matured artist in Miyu Irino.

This is a mini-album that goes beyond nodding at his 2016 astounding album, DARE TO DREAM. Live Your Dream improves everything about that album and brings in Irino’s newest music passions – disco, funk and jazz – to the table. The result is an almost flawless release.

Why “almost flawless”? The album showed consistency in its sound from the lullabyish Darekara mo ai sareru anata no you ni to the melancholic ballad, sayonara baby. The mini-album was sounding like it was going full-circle if not for one song that completely threw consistency out of the window.

The pacing and feel of the mini-album completely shifted with MASCLETA, song that packs more energy in itself than what the other 5 songs in this release have. While this is the kind of song that fits this mini-album if we exclusively analyze it through the theme lens – living your dream, risk and have fun -, when it comes to analyzing it for all it is, with its sound standing out more on a first listen that the lyrics or vocal execution, it simply does not fit this mini-album. Great song if isolated from the rest of the release, odd addition to this mini-album if listened from start to finish.

Darekara mo ai sareru anata no you ni, Tatoeba uta ga nikki datta nara and sayonara baby bring back ballads to Irino’s repertoire. Although not full out, heartbreaking ballads, or ballads in which Irino goes all out in his performance, these 3 songs were fantastic additions to this release, balancing perfectly with the fast paced, dance oriented Monet and Lazy morning.

A couple of notes on these two songs. Lazy morning perfectly captured the 70s funk/disco sound without exaggerating it. This is something that he had already previously done with IF YOU WANNA (FREEDOM, 2018) and, on this release, he further explored that sonority and delivered what we consider to be one of his best dance songs.

Monet explored Bossa Nova, music genre that mixes samba with jazz and that is seldom used – as opposed to Samba or anything Salsa inspired that is overused in seiyuu music -, and did so in fancy fashion. This song has a laidback, summery soundscape, taking us for a drive on sunset during summer.

The highlight of this release is, and this might not come as surprise after reading this review, Darekara mo ai sareru anata no you ni. This song is the perfect example of a well executed acoustic ballad. It is impossible to listen to the song’s breathtaking soundscape, Irino’s powerful performance and the inspirational lyrics and not get emotional.

All in all, Live Your Dream is an astounding release that started to rival but eventually overcame the quality of 2016’s DARE TO DREAM. It is a close to perfect release that distanced itself from today’s music trends and simply delivers a close to the heart, emotional set of songs that will leave a mark. This is Irino‘s finest release to date.

Live Your Dream is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

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Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Currently based in Macau SAR. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely dedicate herself to writing about male seiyuu music.

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